How To Encourage a Friend Not To Give Up: 25 Strategies

In this new article you’ll learn how to encourage a friend not to give up. 

If your friend has gone through a recent breakup, is struggling with depression, or is working towards losing weight, it’s important to be a source of support and motivation for them. It’s essential to strike a balance in your support, avoiding being overly pushy, but showing that you’re available to help in any way you can. Simply being there for them can be a tremendous source of encouragement.

How To Encourage a Friend Not To Give Up:

1. When you learn that someone close to you is experiencing a crisis, such as a divorce, breakup, illness, or loss of a loved one, it’s crucial to reach out to them as soon as possible.

People in crisis often feel alone and isolated, so showing support can make a big difference in their emotional well-being. Even if they’re far away, you can still reach out by phone, email, or text, without necessarily bringing up their situation.

Simply asking how they’re doing and expressing your willingness to help can be incredibly helpful. While it’s important to avoid showing up unannounced, visiting them in person can be a significant way to show your support, particularly if they’re facing an illness that restricts their ability to leave their home.

2. Listen to someone going through a crisis without being judgmental.

They need to express their thoughts and feelings at their own pace, especially during difficult times. While you may have opinions on their situation, it’s not always necessary or helpful to offer unsolicited advice.

Instead, focus on being a supportive presence and providing a safe space for them to open up and share. If you’ve experienced something similar, you can use your own experiences to offer advice if they ask for it, but be prepared for them to simply want someone to listen without any input.

3. Rather than providing advice, it’s often more beneficial to offer practical assistance to someone experiencing a crisis.

This can have a significant impact on their ability to manage a challenging situation. Even small gestures can make a difference, such as helping out with daily tasks like grocery shopping, cleaning their home, or taking their pet for a walk.

These are tasks that can easily become neglected when someone’s life is in turmoil, so offering a helping hand can go a long way towards relieving their stress and allowing them to focus on healing.

4. Allow your friend to process their emotions at their own pace when dealing with a difficult life transition such as illness, loss, divorce, or a breakup.

These emotions can come in waves, with good days and bad days, and it’s essential to avoid making comments that suggest impatience or discomfort with their emotional journey. For example, avoid saying things like “What happened? You seemed fine yesterday” or “Haven’t you moved on yet?”

Instead, try to be patient and understanding, even when their emotions are strong and challenging to witness. Remember that this is not about you, but about supporting your friend during a challenging time. Encourage them to express their emotions freely without fear of judgment, and let them know that you are there for them no matter what.

5. Let your friend know that you are there for them and willing to provide support during their difficult time.

While it’s important for them to have multiple sources of support, you can be a crucial part of their support system. It’s important to reassure them that they are not burdening you and that you are happy to be there for them whenever they need you.

For instance, you could say something like “Please don’t hesitate to call me if you ever feel overwhelmed or need someone to talk to. I’m here to support you through this difficult situation.” This is particularly important in cases of breakups or divorces, where you can serve as the person they turn to instead of their ex-partner. Additionally, you can highlight their positive qualities and unique strengths, which can help boost their self-esteem and provide some much-needed positivity during a challenging time.

6. During difficult times, it’s common for people to neglect basic self-care tasks.

When someone is dealing with an illness, grieving a loss, or going through a breakup, they may forget to eat, stop taking care of their appearance, and avoid leaving their home. It’s important to encourage your friend to maintain these basic functions of life.

One way to do this is by offering to do things with them, such as going for a walk or grabbing coffee, which can encourage them to put some effort into their appearance. You can also help them with tasks like cooking and cleaning by bringing over food or taking them out to eat.

This can take some of the burden off of them and ensure that they are getting proper nutrition. By encouraging your friend to keep up with the basics, you can help them maintain their physical and mental well-being during a difficult time.

7. Don’t take control of your friend’s life, even if you have good intentions.

Providing too much assistance can be overwhelming and take away their sense of power, especially during times of crisis such as a divorce, illness, or loss of a loved one. Instead, give them options and let them make decisions, no matter how small they may seem.

For example, ask them where and when they would like to have dinner instead of just taking them out. Spending too much money on them can also make them feel like they owe you and can diminish their sense of self-care. Instead, offer affordable help like taking them for a cheap manicure or pedicure.

8. Make sure you take care of your own needs and don’t neglect your own emotional well-being.

It’s important to set boundaries and communicate them with your friend, while still being there for them. Recognize when you need to take a step back, especially if the situation hits too close to home for you.

It’s okay to prioritize your own mental health and seek support if needed. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup, so it’s essential to take care of yourself first in order to be a good support system for your friend.

SEE ALSO: How To Make Someone Feel Special: (15 Everyday Tips)

9. Maintain your support for your friend over time.

Sometimes people tend to be there for their friend only in the initial period when they’re going through a crisis, but then they gradually start to fade away. Avoid doing that. Keep reminding your friend that you’re there for them, and check in with them from time to time to see how they’re doing.

10. Recognize the signs of depression in your friend.

It’s normal for people to go through tough times, but if your friend exhibits symptoms of depression, it’s important to pay close attention to their behavior and ensure it doesn’t worsen.

Do they appear persistently sad, anxious, or empty? Do they express hopelessness or pessimism, indicating that things will never improve or life is unbearable? Are they experiencing a lot of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness? Are they fatigued or experiencing a loss of energy? Do they have difficulty concentrating, remembering things, or making decisions? Have you noticed changes in their sleeping patterns, such as insomnia or oversleeping? Have they lost or gained significant amounts of weight? Are they agitated or easily irritated? Have they mentioned or hinted at suicidal thoughts or made an attempt?

This may manifest through statements indicating the world would be better off without them.

11. Acknowledge and accept your friend’s pain and negative emotions.

It’s important to validate their feelings and let them know that you understand what they are going through. However, it’s also important to avoid dwelling on these negative emotions for too long.

Redirect their attention to positive things, like a funny movie, a good book, or a pleasant memory. Try to engage them in activities that can distract them from their negative thoughts. Avoid rehashing the same negative feelings repeatedly, as this can deepen their sense of hopelessness and keep them trapped in a negative mindset.

12. Don’t personalize their depression.

When a person is going through depression, it’s common for them to struggle to connect with others emotionally due to their circumstances. Taking their behavior personally can make it harder for them to open up to you.

Depressed individuals may express their emotions through lashing out with hurtful or angry comments, but it’s important to remember that it’s the depression speaking, not the person. It’s still okay to set boundaries and not tolerate abusive behavior. If your friend is exhibiting abusive behavior, it’s important to encourage them to seek professional help, while letting them know that you are there to support them when they are ready.

13. Depression is a complex condition that involves a chemical imbalance in the brain.

It is not merely a feeling of sadness or unhappiness, but a deep sense of despair and emptiness that can be overwhelming for the person experiencing it. It is important to understand the severity of depression and not downplay its impact on someone’s life.

When offering support to a depressed person, it is crucial to avoid making dismissive comments or offering simple solutions like “just get over it” or suggesting lifestyle changes like yoga, weight loss, or going out more. These comments can make the person feel unsupported and guilty for their condition, worsening their emotional state.

14. In times of depression, even the simplest tasks can become overwhelming.

Offering to help with small things can make a big difference. People dealing with depression often struggle with basic activities such as cleaning or going to work, as their energy is consumed by fighting their mental disorder.

Bringing over a cooked dinner or helping with household chores can ease their burden. You could also offer to take their dog for a walk, which can be a good excuse to get outside and get some fresh air.

15. Show empathy and be a good listener when supporting a friend with depression.

It’s important to understand that you can’t “fix” their depression but you can offer a compassionate ear to listen to them. Instead of offering advice, ask open-ended questions to encourage them to express their feelings, and let them know that you’re there for them.

You can start the conversation by expressing your concern for them and asking if they want to talk about what’s been going on. If they’re having trouble expressing their feelings, try asking them if something specific triggered their depression. Reassure them that they’re not alone and that you care about them. Let them know how important they are to you and that their life matters.

16. Keep in mind that you are not your friend’s therapist, and it’s not appropriate to practice therapy on them, even if you’re trained to do so.

Your role as a friend is to offer support and a listening ear (1), but not to take responsibility for their mental health. If you notice that your friend is consistently calling you in the middle of the night or talking about suicide, or if they seem to be stuck in a prolonged period of depression, it’s important to encourage them to seek help from a professional therapist or counselor.

SEE ALSO: Here’s How To Find a Loyal Partner: [New In-Depth Guide]

17. Encourage your friend to seek professional help for their depression.

Although you can provide them with support and encouragement, you can’t replace the expertise of a professional, nor can you cure their depression through willpower alone. It might be a challenging conversation, but it’s necessary if you care about your friend’s well-being.

Start by asking if they’ve ever considered seeking professional help for their depression. You could also suggest some helpful resources or recommend a qualified professional if you know one. Remember to offer your support throughout this process and remind them that seeking help is a courageous and positive step towards healing.

18. Understand that depression can be a chronic condition that may recur throughout someone’s life, even if they receive effective treatment.

Unlike a one-time illness like chicken pox, depression can be a lifelong battle. It’s crucial not to abandon your friend in their time of need. Depression can be very isolating and leave a person feeling alienated and alone. Being there to offer support and encouragement can make a significant impact on their well-being.

19. Prioritize your own well-being while supporting a friend with depression.

You can’t neglect yourself while trying to help someone else. Set boundaries for yourself to avoid burnout. Take breaks when you need them and spend time with people who make you feel good.

Also, make sure that your relationship with your friend is not one-sided or abusive. If you’re not getting the support and respect you deserve, it’s okay to reassess the relationship and potentially step back for your own well-being.

20. Avoid advising your friend to lose weight.

It’s not your place to dictate how someone should take care of their body, and suggesting they do so can be insensitive and harm your relationship. It’s important to respect their autonomy and let them make their own choices about their health, even if their weight is a concern. If they want to address it, they will do so on their own terms.

21. Offer to become a supportive partner in your friend’s weight-loss journey.

When a friend is determined to lose weight, they may need support from their loved ones. If they are open to sharing their experience, ask them about their diet and exercise plan and try to understand as much as you can.

Commit to joining them in their exercise routine. Let them know that you are willing to bike to work with them or go for an evening run. Go to the gym with them and offer words of encouragement. Share their meals or eat their healthy food options with them to help them feel less alone in their food choices.

22. Instead of monitoring and criticizing your friend’s weight-loss progress, focus on their successes and encourage them along the way.

Avoid playing the role of a diet police and refrain from criticizing them when they slip up. Celebrate their small victories and accomplishments, and offer support and motivation when they feel discouraged. Remember, your role is to provide positive reinforcement, not to judge or shame them.

23. Acknowledge and celebrate the milestones in their weight loss journey.

When your friend has achieved a significant milestone, such as losing a certain amount of weight or reaching a fitness goal, make sure to recognize and celebrate their accomplishment. However, it’s important to remember that celebrations don’t have to be centered around food.

Instead, treat them to a non-food related reward (2), such as a spa day, a shopping trip, or tickets to a show they’ve been wanting to see. The idea is to show your friend that you are proud of their achievements and to give them a boost to keep up the good work.

24. Focus on your friend’s overall well-being and interests, not just on their weight loss progress or struggles.

Ask about their life outside of the weight loss program such as their hobbies, interests, or upcoming events. Show genuine interest in their life and what matters to them. Keep in mind that their worth as a person is not solely based on their weight or their ability to lose weight.

25. Resist the urge to overwhelm your friend with unsolicited advice or ideas to help them.

While you may have good intentions, bombarding them with suggestions can feel intrusive and unhelpful. Instead, ask them how you can support them and be a good listener. Remember that sometimes the best thing you can do is just be there for them, without trying to “fix” their problems.

Encouraging a friend to not give up can be a difficult conversation to have, but it’s important to show your support. One should focus on being there for their friend and encouraging them to seek professional help if necessary. It’s also important to take care of oneself and set boundaries in the relationship.

When supporting a friend in weight loss, it’s best to be an active part of their program, focus on their successes, and celebrate their achievements along the way. One should care about the person, not the diet, and avoid going overboard with helpfulness. The most important thing is to show your friend that you care about them and are there for them, no matter what.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about how to encourage a friend not to give up. I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you. +

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here